Amelia finds a new freedom in not smoking

Amelia doing yoga
Amelia was, like most smokers, an aspiring quitter. She enjoyed the social aspect, bonding with her friends around cigarettes, but her body took less kindly to the habit: Her colds lasted longer than most, her singing range was diminished, and her yoga practice felt uninspired. At her first visit with her new doctor, Sunita Deshmukh, M.D., with Providence Medical Group-Gresham, a simple thing happened: Dr. Deshmukh referred the five-year smoker to Providence's quit smoking class. And Amelia signed up – with reservations. The 23-year-old restaurant cook wasn't convinced the class would take, or that she would take to it.

The six-week class taught Amelia about triggers and cravings, and how to cope with both. Instead of bonding with friends over cigarettes, Amelia bonded with classmates over being smoke-free. Through the class – free to her as a health plan member – she built up her confidence to keep tobacco at bay and embrace the freedom from cigarettes she truly craved. She's been smoke free since September 2012.

Amelia still carries in her wallet a piece of paper the size of a credit card that she received at the beginning of the class. The front reads: The urge will pass whether you smoke or not. And on the back are her reasons for wanting to quit: life breath (yoga), quality of life, mental freedom and health. For Amelia, good health is happiness, and quitting smoking has given her a chance to heal. "I was always thinking about healing," she says. "Now, she says, "I don't want to give up my happiness."

And happy she is. Though she sometimes feels that twinge of nostalgia for smoking, the prevailing feeling is one of freedom: "There are days – a little moment – when I think, 'Oh my gosh, I don't smoke anymore.' It's so awesome."

Quitting tobacco

If the thought of giving up your tobacco habit sets fire to your nerves, you're not alone. For many, the fear of quitting is just as daunting as quitting itself. We know it's a seriously hard habit to break, whether you're giving up cigarettes, cigars or smokeless tobacco.

Your chances of being successful at quitting – no matter if you've tried 17 times or have never tried at all – increase significantly when you have support in the form of medication and counseling.

As a Providence Health Plan member, you have access to great resources at no cost to you. Quitting can be scary, and we make it less scary with as much help as you need to break from the pack. You've heard the statistics, you know the reasons. If you're ready to quit, we're ready to help.

Find a new you, one tobacco-free day at a time.